Recent Things I’ve Bought and Loved

I haven’t done a hits and misses lately because I haven’t been doing a lot of clothing shopping. But I have done a bit of this and that shopping and wanted to share the hits I’ve bought, have used or worn more than once, and feel good sharing with you!

image of alison in black Banana Republic shorts

Banana Republic Stretch 5” Short

I shared these shorts in Friday's post but they're worth a second mention. This isn’t the first year I’ve purchased these shorts from Banana Republic and likely won’t be the last. These shorts are my FAVORITE. They’re dressier than chinos; they’re made of a stretchy fabric similar to work trousers but they’re machine washable and dryable. They don’t stretch out but they’re super stretchy – comfy in the waist, don’t do weird things to the belly/FUPA area, the pockets don’t bow out, they don’t get saggy in the bum. They’re not too tight yet are a really clean and polished fit. On me, the 5” inseam is short enough to not make me look squat yet long enough to feel covered and not get chub rub. I’ve washed mine four times and they still look and fit great. My orangey-red pair from two years ago still look great too; each year they carry these in black and then a couple of interesting colors. I usually size up in shorts but find these fit in my regular pants size.

adidas superstar sneakers with walk hero inserts blue walk hero insoles

Walk Hero Insoles

When I went to the DC Pride Festival, I wore my old Adidas Superstar sneakers. They’re nice and wide and roomy with a sturdy toe to protect me in a crowd. But they had no arch support and my feet were miserable for days after. I was looking at replacement sneakers but didn’t find any I liked the look of that also had support and then thought… why not try insoles? I mean, duh! I ordered three pairs from Amazon for these sneakers as well as my boots to see what I liked best. I put a different pair in my boots, wore them for a day at a music festival and couldn’t wait until I was back at my hotel to yank them off. The insoles didn’t accomplish much. I tried these from Walk Hero in my Adidas sneakers… so good I wore these two days in a row at a music festival. I walked nine miles one of the days, and both days I had the shoes on for at least ten hours straight. Sure my feet were tired but they weren’t in pain. The arch support was good, similar to my Birkenstocks. I removed the thin insole that came with my sneakers, these fit in and I didn’t find my shoes too small or too tight. I am an 8 in sneakers, 7.5W in sandals and ordered the 8-8.5 size and they fit perfectly with the arch in the right place. No blisters, no hot spots, no rubbing from the shoes fitting differently. I recommend reading the reviews on Amazon; supposedly there are counterfeits out there but there are photos showing the legit packaging and the counterfeit version. They’re like $16 with free Prime shipping and returns and the company also has a satisfaction guarantee. I plan to buy another pair for my boots and may add them to my gym sneakers too!

package of fruit of the loom breathable low rise brief underwear

Fruit of the Loom Breathable Low-Rise Brief

At 5’3” tall and with a belly, I find bikinis and hipsters slide down under my tummy and most briefs so high rise they peek out of my jeans and shorts. Low-rise briefs are hit and miss, as some are more like hipsters. I was looking for a comfortable pair of underwear for long days at music festivals but also good for the gym and other activities. No chafing at the leg holes, no wedgies, no sliding under the belly, no hanging out over the waistband of my leggings. I took a chance with these and glad I did! They aren’t cute, they give you VPL (visible panty line) in leggings, but they don’t give you swamp butt, they don’t move, they’re not thin little delicate things that will tear if you yank them too hard when you’re sweaty in a hot potty trailer in the tiniest of stalls trying to get dressed fast without touching the toilet or knocking your backpack off the makeshift hook/lock, they won’t shred if you accidentally wash and dry them with your jeans and overalls, they’re great summer and workout underwear. I’m a 14, I got size 7 and they are the kind of fit where you forget you’re wearing them. Oh, and $12.99 for three pairs of underwear is my kind of pricing.

alison's husband and daughter standing on their patio wearing matching hooded Pendleton towels

Pendleton Hooded Towels

I love Pendleton and have for eons. Karl does too. Karl bought me a monogrammed Pendleton blanket for Christmas and now we get their catalog and it’s so delicious and we want everything in it. So for Father’s Day, I got Karl and Emerson matching hooded towels from Pendleton in the Tucson print. These things are thick, almost like a blanket. The color is super saturated. I got both of them the adult so Emerson won’t grow out of it; on her, it almost hits the ground but is wearable. On my 6’5” husband it’s still a good length for him to throw on after a day at the pool or beach. Both of them have been wearing them around the house like a Snuggie; the other day I came home from an event to find them on the couch watching a movie, both in their hooded towels with the hoods up. These are NOT cheap; they’re almost $100 but the quality is so stellar I could easily see them using these for decades. At least that was my hope when ordering them!

image of anker portable phone charger

Anker PowerCore Lite 10000mAh Portable Charger

I didn’t buy this super recently, I got it over a year ago but it’s my BFF. As someone who uses her phone all the time for work, I love this thing. It seriously keeps a charge for days, even weeks. I can charge it up, take it with me for all day at a music festival, come back and it still has energy left. I can forget to charge it, a week later pull it out of my bag and still have plenty of juice to bring my phone to 100%. It's a reasonable size; shorter but a bit thicker than a pack of cards and takes a normal microUSB cord to charge it.  I can fit it into most of my clutch purses and in my Ace fanny pack at a music festival had my phone (I have the plus-sized iPhone), this charger and cords, my sunglasses, my mini wallet, a lip balm, and a travel-sized sunscreen and it wasn't bursting at the seams. I have bought many batteries that have kicked the bucket after a year of hard use; this one keeps rocking.  It’s the best $32 I have spent in a long while.  As an FYI, I also have the larger version and it too is fantastic and has enough juice to charge two phones or devices at the same time.  It's fantastic for vacations, but much bigger (won't fit in a clutch purse but should be fine in a crossbody). I've always had success with Anker.

image of multiple cans of bullfrog mosquito coast spf 30 sunscreen and bug repellant

Bullfrog Mosquito Coast SPF 30 Sunscreen with Bug Repellant

The mosquitos in Maryland are hearty, come out early, stay late in the year, thrive even through rain, wind, and all sorts of traditional ways to keep them at bay.  We've come to accept that even for spending an hour out on our deck or a walk around the block we need to don bug repellant.  My husband spends a good portion of the spring and summer at his plots in the community garden, Emerson is all over town on her bike and with friends, and I like to join them so we're always in need of both sunscreen and bug spray.  This combo product from Bullfrog is our must-have each summer; this is our third summer of using it.  It keeps us from being burned and from being eaten alive.  It stays on well; Karl can go to the garden for three hours and come back burn and bite free and Emerson can hop in the pool and it doesn't immediately wash off.  I love it at the beach when you can get chewed up from those tiny flies. The smell isn't overwhelming.  It says it's non-greasy but I disagree; this will leave a sheen on your skin. 

image of Glossier YOU pink perfume bottle

Glossier “You” Eau De Parfum

If you missed my Instagram Stories about this perfume, you may not get why sharing this is so funny.  I've been trying to find a new perfume for a few years but everything is too heavy, too sweet, gives me a headache, or my husband thinks it smells like hay (Hello Le Labo's Santal 33). A friend recommended I try “You,” the new fragrance from beauty brand Glossier which she described as a more delicate and slightly sweet Santal. At only $60, it was a lot cheaper than most fragrances I've considered and placed an order along with a refill of the two Glossier products I use: Boy Brow and their concealer. And I loved it right out of the bottle.  It came in the mail while I was working; I did a spritz on my wrists and got back to my computer but couldn't stop smelling myself.  The next day I went to an event; it was a hot and humid day and I figured it was a good test for the perfume.  I loved it, even after sweating and having it on for hours.  My family… that was another story.  Karl said it too smelled like hay, and not in a quaint or charming way but in a barn way.  Emerson also said it smelled bad.  To quote her, it smelled like, “Hay, roses, and a fart.” I wear whatever the heck I like, but I'm not going to wear a fragrance that doesn't appeal to the people I am literally closest to. But, this is a pretty scent that gets rave reviews on unbiased sites like Makeup Alley.  If you like scents like Santal 33 but it's too pricey or heavy for you, Glossier “You” is a great alternative. 

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17 Comments

  1. Ann
    July 3, 2019 / 12:38 pm

    THANK YOU for reminding us about these shorts. I’ve been on the lookout for something just like this for some time. I ran down to Banana to try them on and they are as fantastic as you say. I’m 5’5″, run 8/10 (leaning toward 10), short-waisted, high hip, not much low hip. I got an 8 in black and did a 10 in white to have a bit more room. The 8s were fitted but felt amazing on – comfortable with just the right amount of stretch. And ON SALE. Magic. Thank you.

    • July 5, 2019 / 6:11 am

      Woo hoo I’m glad they’re great for you too!

  2. July 2, 2019 / 11:45 am

    Great tips and honest reviews! Ordered the shoe inserts. I’ve tried several that were a bust and happy to hear of a success story.

  3. Kim
    July 1, 2019 / 3:13 pm

    I love product round up posts like this – keep them coming! It’s wonderful that here (unlike similar lists featured in traditional media) I will likely be able to use (and fit in to) the products you recommend.

  4. Mary W
    July 1, 2019 / 2:28 pm

    If you really want comfortable insoles and can splurge on the price, try Wiivv.com These are custom made to your feet with an app that you use to take photos of your feet. When I received mine, my first impression was not good. But after trying them I could not believe the difference! These are the only ones I will use in my shoes and boots. Maybe the company would let you be a tester and we could read your review.

    • July 11, 2019 / 6:54 am

      They sound amazing, thank you for sharing!

  5. Kathryn Fenner
    July 1, 2019 / 11:39 am

    For summer, I love Hermès Eau d’Orange Verte. I got some when I stayed at a fancy hotel for work. It smells like Jay Gatsby’s shirts.

    • July 11, 2019 / 6:54 am

      That’s the best description I’ve ever read!

  6. Lee
    July 1, 2019 / 9:39 am

    Love your perfume story about continuing to smell yourself after you applied it! I’ve always done that too. I don’t wear perfume anymore but love a good smelling body lotion (current favorites are Bobbi Brown’s Beach & Trader Joe’s coco butter—smells of summer!). Those jockey panties sound good so I’m going to order some. Finding good underwear for working out has eluded me. Thanks for all the shares; these posts are really enjoyable and useful!

  7. Darlene
    July 1, 2019 / 9:38 am

    Those breathable ones are my favorite work-out underwear! They stay in place better than any others I’ve tried. I generally don’t wear them with work clothes because the line does show, but they are the best for exercise and running around when I don’t care about that. FYI, target’s pricing on these is usually several dollars cheaper than amazon.
    I love these hit/misses updates – I will check out those insoles, thanks!

  8. Sandra
    July 1, 2019 / 8:33 am

    Yea for granny panties that do the job! Jockey makes a cotton brief they call Comfies which also comes in a blend. They cover well and stay put on a generous booty and have a minimal line, if any, for me. They come in and out of stock both on Jockey’s site and Amazon. I have been replacing lately so I am aware. I have had some for several years but have more now. They are light weight, good for summer and currently my favorites over a drawer full of Walcoal. Size 14 pants = size 7 for me.

    • July 1, 2019 / 10:35 am

      Awesome, thank you for this suggestion Sandra!

  9. Joy
    July 1, 2019 / 8:29 am

    I followed the link to the shorts and the fabric and care information said “dry clean.” I’m just checking to see if they are the same ones you’ve been able to machine wash and dry without issues. They look great and they’re on sale. Thanks!

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